How I Come Up with My Ideas: Living the Buttercream Dream


The question I get asked most often is, how do you come up with these cards?

This is one of those questions I wish I could answer easily by saying something like “Magic.” But it’s not magic . . . sometimes it feels like it is, but most times it’s more like running a dysfunctional matchmaking service full of passive-aggressive stories and weird little animals.

Take T-Rex and his buttercream dreams here (he was featured last week in “Animal Tales: Daily”). I’ve had him on my roster for the past two years . . . photographed and ready to go. He was just hanging out, wanting to become something, but he didn’t have the right story. He had an underlying theme that I based the photo shoot on, but he was missing the words.

Let’s start from the beginning. I happened across T-Rex in a dollar store while I was worrying about life, the end times, and light, fluffy things like that. I was immediately taken by his huge, winning smile. This guy had such an engaging grin for someone who would naturally want to rip my face off. What did he have to be so happy about? This was a “whatever he’s having, I want some of that” moment. His giddy smile made me smile, and up to the register we went—a dollar for a smile and a laugh is a pretty good deal some days.

I brought T-Rex home, named him Trex, and set him on my desk, where he gave me many more smiles.
That was a dollar well spent, people!



Simultaneously, I was taking a cake-decorating class, and for the final class we had to make a big fancy cake. It felt a bit like perpetuating a fraud, making a cake with no special occasion at hand. Then one day I turned around a looked at Trex and I knew! I knew why he was so happy . . . because he had a dream of running through a field of buttercream. I was on to something . . . it felt right. Trex had buttercream dreams. So I baked, I frosted, I cursed a little bit, and when I set Trex down atop the cake, I knew I’d done the right thing.

For the first time, his smile didn’t look out of place.


Trex_PlayingA photo shoot ensued . . . and into the file he went. I loved his images, but he didn’t have a fully formed story yet. “Crazy Lady Bakes Cake for Happy Dinosaur” wasn’t exactly the theme I was going for.

So Trex got filed . . . for two years. I would come across him regularly and smile. Until last week while working on “Animal Tales: Daily,” when out of the blue his story changed. It wasn’t about the cake but about his aspirations to be something. We can all relate to that. With the swish of a pencil (I always write my stories the old-fashioned way first to work out any kinks) and a handful of clicks on the keyboard, Trex had officially been paired with his story.

After two years of waiting and a week on “Animal Tales: Daily,” he is still making me laugh
(seriously the best-spent dollar ever).
So I think he deserves his own card, don’t you? He’s earned it.


Trex_card-GraphicAnd me, well, I’m off to sort out my next great adventure.* Like I said, I am something of a matchmaker . . . Maybe I should add that to my business cards to spice things up 🙂

If you liked this little glimpse behind the scenes of how the “Animal Tales” works, let me know in the comments below. Every image has a story, and I’m happy to share some of the best ones with you!

If you’d like your very own T-Rex buttercream dreams card click here, or visit my Etsy shop for more greeting cards that will make your friends laugh:

*Adventure, as in the holidays are coming, so you can expect to find me knee-deep in candy canes and peppermints, trying to force an army of little animals to look festive. Stay tuned to my Instagram (TheMemorableImage) to see me creating my winter wonderland for the Holiday Season 2014 “Animal Tales” cards—it’s going to be awesome.

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  • Jennifer Smiga - Thanks for sharing Jamie. Our dreams don’t have to become extinct before we even start them. That’s the sweet message TRex passed on to me. And your photos are so beautiful. I want to eat them.ReplyCancel

  • Michele Heine - I first saw your art at Mayday Underground and loved it. So glad to hear the story of T-Rex’s background. Would love to read more. Love your sense of humor.ReplyCancel

    • Jamie Redmond - Michele, thank you for the feedback. I will definitely be posting some more “behind the scenes” stories in the near future.ReplyCancel